Platform/ publisher bargaining is a very hot topic at the moment- we're nearing the June deadline for the implementation of the EU Copyright Directive's new press publisher right and the Australian news media bargaining code has recently been passed. Earlier this week we gained an insight into the potential approach the UK might take in regulating platform/ publisher bargaining during a meeting between the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") and the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee. 

Directors from the CMA told the Committee they are in favour of a statutory code of conduct to ensure there are "fair and reasonable terms" between platforms and content providers. Daniel Gordon (CMA's senior director of markets) said the CMA should determine what a fair process for negotiations would be rather than "trying to second guess these complicated transactions between business that it doesn't run and to impose terms". 

Simeon Thornton suggested the new Digital Markets Unit ("DMU") could act as an intermediary to oversee platforms' algorithms without forcing them to be published. While he acknowledged there were legitimate reasons not to expose the precise algorithms publicly, he said "a trusted intermediary like the DMU can come in and look at the algorithm and make sure that it does what it says on the tin". Thornton also said it would be difficult to set prices for content, but the new code of conduct should create better incentives for platforms to bargain. 

Interesting to see the UK leaning towards the "code of conduct" approach taken in Australia rather than creating a new right for publishers as the EU have done. Also good to see the CMA beginning to assign tasks to the DMU which is acting in a non-statutory capacity until legislation is passed